Sometimes there is a big gaping hole in my chest and despite the years of inquest there seems to be no suitable substance to fill the gap. It doesn’t often ache but when it does my whole body knows the absence and feels it deeply.
My bones feel weak and my heart tremors and the only thing that can be done to stop the pain is to let the tears fall and the pain come alive. The tears dance on my cheeks and are weighed down with the pull of a sadness that sits in my guts most of the time.
I don’t like to whine and I don’t believe in the rhetoric of ‘it’s not fair’ because we don’t get to decide or see what is or what isn’t. Instead we have to battle on and try to mend those gaping holes that make us feel like the entire world is being emptied out through them. And despite years of trying to find the exact thing that makes the hole shrink or closes the gap, all I have done replace the sturdiest material in the world with less. And the most ridiculous thing is that this less, the one that wipes away my tears and keeps me from falling. The one that has been there for every single step. Who has held my hands and helped me through it all, is the more that I am always looking for. Yet that doesn’t seem to make the ache subside when the only thing I want is the thing that I cannot have.
I just want my mum and the tears fall harder and faster and I hear five year old me and ten year old me and fifteen year old me say the same thing. And all of those times, every scraped knee, every nightmare, every slap, punch, kick physical and verbal, every decision, every life event, I hear myself repeat the same futile words. And she has yet to come, my mum. Instead in the shape of winged angels G-d sent me love and warmth and acceptance and guidance in the form of more people than I have fingers to count on. So here I am standing at nineteen still crying in the arms of one of my angels telling her that I want my mum and she looks at me with a smile that knows that this pain that sits tightly inside of me has the power to destroy me if I let it.
Sometimes I feel guilty because my parents are alive and others don’t have the luxury of that. But whilst that’s swell my parents are just shadows that haunt my nightmares and watch the flares and flames light up inside of me as I try and claw my way out of this never ending dream. The tears dry up and the gravitational pull on the hole that feels as though it is ripping my skin comes to a halt. My skin retracts and those feelings fall back into place where I lock up all the other unresolved trauma and unfinished business.
It hurts. It hurts real bad and sometimes I am so unbelievably sad I am mourning the loss of something I never had. But it’s easy to get lost in the knowledge that what I thought belonged to me never did. And the comfort of this pain is that I may have lost two, but I gained more than I could ever imagine.
It’s not easy being breezy about never coming first. It’s hard to reach out and keep reaching when all you want is someone to pull you back into a hug, the secure knowledge that no matter where you go, they will catch you. But that’s why my arms have a parachute attached. G-d is my parachute. And just like He has sent me and continues to send me winged angels in disguise I know that even when I can feel my parents stepping through the hole in my heart and walking away from me, I am not alone. Even when I can hear the cries of five and ten and fifteen year old me echoing inside, reminding me that the world is a lonely place.
I have enough warmth like the blanket placed over a person in shock to revive me, to know that I will survive – yes me. The girl born with a heart defect so big that every breathing moment is a miracle. So yes sometimes it’s hard and it aches. Sometimes there is this earth quake inside of me and all those feelings are shaken up and the bridges built and the paths just paved seem to crumble. But then the shaking stops and out of the embers and ashes of the old form the new.